Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

November 22nd, 2018

Last Thursday, at our 9th Grade Preview Evening, I told the story of how I came to the Bay Area many years ago. It was April of 1990, six months after the Loma Prieta Earthquake had devasted the Bay Area. That first night, we stayed at a Motel 6 near the Oakland Coliseum. In the middle of the night, we heard a rattling and felt what would turn out to be an aftershock. The ground was still moving. For us, it was new but for Bay Area veterans of Loma Prieta, it was another PTSD reminder moment of October 17th, 1989.

The Camp Fire and ongoing devastation in the Paradise area may ultimately be the largest disaster yet endured by California, Loma Prieta included. At this writing, more than 80 have been confirmed dead and hundreds more are on a missing list that will take weeks or months to unravel. The rain has finally come and the cloak of smoke that we have sat under for days is finally lifted.

All this has been a stark reminder of the Tubbs Fire from just a year ago. Had there not been a high pressure system parked off shore, we might not feel quite as connected with the communities of Paradise, Magalia, and Concow. Many of us know someone there. Kelly has worked at schools in Paradise that are now gone. Her home just west of Paradise barely escaped. She has heard from close friends who have simply lost everything, some of the thousands who are spread across the state in various stages of shock as they try to figure out what’s next.

This Thansgiving, these families are suffering in unimaginable ways. Many have no idea where to go or how to even think about what might be next. And the blessing of the rain that we thank for clearing our smoke may be a curse for a family living in a tent somewhere. Many of you have contributed to a gofundeme campaign (thank you!) that is currently at $4685. We will deliver these funds to the counselors at Paradise High School, our small way of trying to help.

For the Petaluma High family, we have much to be thankful for. Our school and city are safe, our students are doing well, and our hard work in teaching children continues to pay off. Today, as I ran with my daughter in the Turkey Trot, I came across a group of “older ones,” students who I had taught at Casa Grande 18 years ago. These now thirty-somethings reminded me that our work continues long after the students gradate. Each of you changes the world with the care, guidance and knowledge you offer. That is one more thing to be thankful for today.

Thank you all. Hug your family tightly as the rain falls tonight.